Time and Mind - The Tykes
Partial Transcription of a taped workshop
by Terence McKenna
May 26/27, 1990 - New Mexico
Well, I suppose it's an invitation to describe a DMT trip, which is never to be passed up. Because I think, I think what we're talking about here is a continuum, I'm talking about a very narrow band of experience. A continuum of experience that comes through tryptamine hallucinogens: DMT, Psilocybin, and the DMT-Harmine combination... and that's it... Mescaline doesn't, isn't what I'm talking about. Ketamine certainly isn't what I'm talking about. Datura certainly isn't what I'm talking about. And some of these are plants, and some of them are synthetic drugs, but it's a very narrow spectrum of these highly visionary ones, and then the most visionary, the quintessence is DMT. I mean, I think that DMT is as intense as any drug should ever get; I don't ever want to be more loaded than that. I don't think you can be more loaded than that and come back. You know? What happens on DMT for me, and this is based on, you know, composite image of many experiences, and I've confirmed it to some degree with other people, but I was talking to somebody the other day, somebody who had just done it, and I said, "what did you think?" and they said: "It's the most idiosyncratic thing there is." and I thought, what a wonderful description, that's exactly what it is - it's pure idiosyncraticness. It's so idiosyncratic that's all there's there - it's like idiosyncrasy without an object, is what DMT is.
When you smoke this, the onset is very rapid. 30-45 seconds, you know? There's this feeling which comes over your body - half arousal, half anesthesia. The air appears to suddenly have been sucked out of the room because all the colors brighten visibly, as though some intervening medium has been removed. And then there's a sound, like a piece of bread wrapper or cellophane being scrunched up and thrown away. A friend of mine says this is radio-entelechy leaving the anterior fontanelle at the top of your head. [laughter] I'm not sure I want to line up with that... but a membrane is being ripped; something is being torn. And then there is a total (what Mircea Eliade called in a wonderful phrase) "a complete rupture of the mundane plane". [laughter] You know? That's like a hit and run accident except the car came from hyperspace, you know? A complete rupture of the mundane plane. And you fall back into this hallucinogenic space, and what you see is a slowly rotating red and orange kind of thing, which, over the years we've nicknamed, uh, 'The Chrysanthemum'. And it's.. this represents some kind of disequilibrium state that has its roots in the synapses. What's happening as you're watching this Chrysanthemum is that millions and then hundreds of millions of DMT molecules are rushing into these serotonin bond sites in the synaptic cleft and disrupting the serotonin and switching the electron spin resonance signature of these neural junctions in this 'other' direction. And this is taking, you know, 30 or 40 seconds, and there's this rising hum, this ____nnnmmmmMMMMMMMM that rising tone; the flying saucer tone of Hollywood B movies... you actually hear this thing.
And then, if you've taken enough DMT (and it has to do entirely with physical capacity: Did you take, did you cross the threshold?) something happens [clap] which... for which there are no words. A membrane is rent, and you are propelled into this 'place'. And language cannot describe it - accurately. Therefore I will inaccurately describe it.
The rest is now lies. [laughter] When you break into this space, you have several impressions simultaneously that are a kind of gestalt: First of all (and why, I don't know) you have the impression that you are underground - far underground - you can't say why, but there's just this feeling of immense weight above you but you're in a large space, a vaulted dome. People even call it 'The DMT dome' I have said, had people say to me, "Have you been under the dome?" and I knew exactly what they meant.
So you burst into this space. It's lit, sofeted lighting, some kind of indirect lighting you can't quite locate it. But what is astonishing and immediately riveting is that in this place there are entities - there are these things, which I call 'self transforming machine elves', I also call them self-dribbling basketballs. [laughter] They are, but they are none of these things. I mean you have to understand: these are metaphors in the truest sense, meaning they're lies! Uh, it's a jeweled self-transforming basketball, a machine elf. I name them 'Tykes' because tyke is a word that means to me a small child, and I was fascinated by the 54th fragment of Heraclites, where he says: "The Aeon is a child at play with colored balls" ... and when you burst into the DMT space this is the Aeon - it's a child, and it's at play with colored balls, and I am in eternity, apparently, in the presence of this thing.
There are many of these things, but the main thing that's happening is that they are engaged in a linguistic activity of some sort, which we do not have words for, but it's visible language. They are doing the visible language trip. When you break into the space, they actually cheer! The first thing you hear when you pass across is this 'hhhyeaaaaaayyy' - you know the Pink Floyd song? "The Gnomes have Learned a New Way to Say Hoo-Ray"? This has gotta be what these guys were talking about; how else could it be? It doesn't make any sense otherwise.
[laughter] You break into this space... the gnomes say hoo-ray! And they come rushing forward and they, and, and the thing then that happens is... and people say "is there risk, to DMT? it sounds so intense. Is it dangerous?"
The answer is: yes, it's tremendously dangerous; the danger is the possibility of death by astonishment. [laughter] And you must prepare yourself for this eventuality, because you are so amazed. Amazement seems to be the emotion that has torn loose and swamped everything else - I mean astounded? When was the last time you were genuinely 'ASTOUNDED'? I mean, I think you can go your whole damned life without being 'ASTOUNDED'... and this is astonishment, you know, raised to the N-th degree to the point that your jaw hangs...
I mean you're like this:
And it raises issues: like you say, "Jesus, ah, huhh ... I must be dead!" And you, and the weird thing about DMT is it does not effect what we ordinarily call the mind. The part that you call "you" - nothing happens to it. You're just like you were before, but the World has been radically replaced - 100% - it's all gone, and you're sitting there, and you're saying, "Jesus, a minute ago I was in a room with some people, and they were pushing some weird drug on me, and, and now, what's happened? s s is this the Drug? Did we do it? Is this it?" And meanwhile, these things are saying: "Do not give way to amazement; Control your wonder." in other words, they try to bring you down. They say, "Don't just goof out on this; pay attention. PAY ATTENTION... to what we're doing." "OK, what're you doing?..."
[laughter] Say this is what we're doing, and then they proceed to sing objects into existence. Amazing objects. Objects that are Faberge Eggs, things made of pearl, and metal, and glass, and gel, and you, when you're shown one of these things, a single one of them, you look at it an you know, without a shadow of a doubt, in the moment of looking at this thing, that if it were right here, right now, this world would go mad. It's like something from another dimension. It's like an artifact from a flying saucer. It's like something falling out of the mind of God - such objects DO not exist in this universe, and yet, you're looking at it. And they're clamoring for your attention. " 'k at this! 'ook at This! Look at THIS!" and they pull these things... and each one, you look into it and it begins to open into this wonder that you must fight. You say "No, don't look at it, look AWAY from it!" because it's so wonderful that it's swamping my objectivity and destroying my ability to function in this space.
Well, then they say "do"...
And the objects that they make have the peculiar ability to themselves generate this linguistic 'stuff' which condenses as other objects. So beings are making objects, showing you objects, the objects are turning into beings and making other objects, these beings and objects, they jump into your chest - and then they jump back out. They jump into your body and disappear into your body, and then they jump back out, waving these things, just throwing this stuff in all directions. They are - the word that comes to mind is: they are Zany. It's like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, uh, gone mad. And all of this energy - they are elves. This is what elves are. It's this weird thing, where they love you - or they like you a lot, but you can tell that their sense of humor is Weird. And that you must be very careful of the deals you cut with these things. and and in fact I've spent so much time trying to understand what is this. It has different kinds of feelings about it. One is (and this really threw me for a loop when I figured this out) after many many of these trips, and analyzing this place I kept going to, I finally realized: "this place is... somebody very weird... it's their idea of a reassuring environment for a human being! It's like a playpen. It's this warm. well lit, secure, womblike environment, and when I break into it they these things, the elves and the toys, are toys! These are things to amuse me. The way you would hang, uh, cubes and blocks above a cradle... a playpen, you know? Because children are supposed to coordinate shapes and bright colors. That's what these things are: they are toys to try and get me to coordinate my perception in this place. It's a holding area of some sort - someone's created this and is watching me.
OK - that's one metaphor for what it is. Another metaphor is... I took this stuff to Tibetans, to the Amazon. I gave it to Tibetans, they said "this is the lesser lights, the lesser lights of the Bardo. You cannot go further into the Bardo and return. This takes you as far as you can go." When I gave it to shamans in the Amazon, they said "It's strong - but this is, these are the ancestors. These are the spirits that we work with. These are ancestor souls. We know this place." Well then, the third and final metaphor, because when you're in that place you have such complex emotions - very complex emotions - something weird is going on with time, because you perceive your body image as infantile. You seem to have a very large head, and a very body, and very short limbs. And, you know, I dunno what that's about.
But they're, uh, this...
Then the last facet of it that I want to mention is: there is this 'you must be on your toes' thing - don't let these guys get behind you. They are tricky. And their elfin humor may not be your idea of a good time.
[laughter] And I said to myself, where have I had, before, this feeling that I'm having now. It's a feeling of being with people that I can't trust, but who want to help me, and who seem to be trying to, uh, cut a deal. That was the word that gave me the clue: "deal". And then I remembered, "I know where I felt like this - I felt like this in the Crawford Market in Bombay when I had a kilo of Gold in my pocket and I was trying to trade it for hashish, and I was surrounded by all these Arab hash traders, and they were saying "we're your friend, just wait, don't worry..." And say "yes, I KNOW you're my friend and I'm NOT worrying, but, you know, brbrbrrr... perform!" And so then I said: "Aha the creatures in the DMT flash are Traders..." They're Traders. And that's what this weird feeling is - it's a business environment in there. [laughter] We're having a business meeting. They're saying... and then the objects! Then I remembered- the objects... they're trade goods! They're saying: "How about thissss! How about This!".
What do they want? What do I have that they want?... They're meme traders, is what it is. And I think that what they wanted, and got, and took - without bothering to even say a word about it - was everything I knew about the I Ching. And they're like art collectors. They say "well, the idea is primitive, and primitive in its execution, but with a certain kind of internal integrity that one really must respect..." So they're primitive art collectors, and what they left me with, then, was, uh, my own, you know, their model of time. Which is the closest thing to one of these hyperdimensional objects. The objects themselves cannot exist in this world. But the blueprints of them can. And this afternoon, if the computers are up and running, I will run through this 'time idea' with you.
And I think I will be able to convince you that it has a weirdly crafted patina to it, that, the feeling is it didn't spring from human minds, it, it is a creature of another kind of mental universe. And I think, you know, aside from the crisis on this planet and our own personal difficulties this is the real challenge of the psychedelic thing; is to meet the inhabitants and trade with them. And set up a relationship. The notion traders. They can trade hyperspacial notions from across the cosmos. And this may be all the extraterrestrial contact that we're, uh, going to be vouchsafed, you know?
More Tyke Musings...
excerpted from a taped workshop
by Terence McKenna
February 1992, Esalen
DMT is the strongest hallucinogen there is. If it's possible to get more loaded than that, I don't want to know about it, and I say so when I'm there. I say, 'My God, if you can get more loaded than this, keep it away from me.' So that's it, it's the strongest. It's also the shortest acting. DMT when smoked in most people is, return you to normal in under ten minutes. Under ten minutes! Now, this is interesting because people who think there's nothing to this should actually invest the ten minutes to find out what's, you know... A ten minute DMT trip is worth twenty years of academic pharmacology, art history, psychology and all this other malarkey. Because then you just say, 'Okay, I got it, I got it...' Another very interesting thing about DMT is, it occurs naturally in the human brain. Well, now what's going on here? He's saying the strongest drug, the fastest drug, is the most natural drug? It means that, you know, you don't have to sail off into 3-hydroxy-4-peridal- enmethylmarubyshtick or something like that to get into the exotic realms. No -- a human metabolite, which takes only ten minutes to undergo its entire exfoliation and quenching, is the strongest of all.
Well, then, what is it? What does 'strong' mean? What is a strong psychedelic? You know, it's highly personal. Every psychedelic trip is. But what happens on DMT for a large number of people -- I mean, we don't have any statistics, but -- it is a completely confounding experience. I mean, you may have had the expectation, you might think if you had never had a psychedelic experience that it sort of begins like the Bach B minor fugue, and goes from there as you rise into the realms of light and union with the deity or something like that. That's not what happens on DMT. What happens on DMT I referred to this morning: a troop of elves smashes down your front door, and rotates and balances the wheels on the afterdeath vehicle, present you with the bill and then depart. (laughter) And it's completely paradigm shattering. I mean, you know, union with the white light you could handle. (laughter) An invasion of your apartment by jeweled self-dribbling basketballs from hyperspace that are speaking demotic Greek is *not* something that you anticipated and could handle. Sometimes people say, 'Is DMT dangerous? It sounds so crazy. Is it dangerous?' The answer is, only if you fear death by astonishment. (laughter)
Remember how you laughed when this possibility was raised. And a moment will come that will wipe the smile right off your face. (laughter)
One thing that endears DMT to me is, I like to say, it doesn't affect your mind. It doesn't seem to affect your mind. In other words, you don't change under the influence of DMT. You don't become a kinder, gentler person. YOu don't sink into, you know, a line of drool from one corner of your mouth as you sit there twitching. *You* don't change. What happens is, the world is completely replace, instantly, 100 percent, it's all gone. And what is put in its place, not one iota of what is put in its place was taken from this world. So its a 100% reality channel switch. They don't even retain three dimensional space and linear time. It's not like you go to an exotic place, Morocco or New Guinea. It's like reality is swapped out for something else, and when you try to say what it is, you realize that language has evolved in this world, and it can serve no other, or it takes years of practice. So what you're looking at is literally the unspeakable. The indescribably falls into your lap. And when you try -- you're loaded, right, you're there, and you're trying to explain to yourself what's happening, and so this is like you try to pour water over the transdimensional objects in front of you, the water of language. And it just beads up and flows off like water off a duck's back. You cannot say what's there.
And I've spent, I don't know, twenty-five years fiddling with this. It's become the compass of my inspiration, trying to say what is on the other side of that boundary. Just two large tokes away at any given time is this non-Euclidean, non-Newtonian, irrational, un-Englishable place, but it's not smooth and empty and clear. That's not what gives it its indescribability. What gives it is indescribability is its utter weirdness, its alienness, its power to astonish.
What happens to me when I smoke DMT is, there's a kind of going toward it. There's a sequella of events which lead to the antechamber of the mystery. I mean, you take a toke, you feel strange. Your whole body feels odd. You take a second toke, all the oxygen seems to have been pumped out of the room. Everything jumps into clarity. It's that visual acuity thing. You take a third toke if you're able, and then you lay back, and you see this thing which looks like a rose or a chrysanthemum, this orange spinning flowerlike thing. It takes about fifteen seconds to form, and it's like a membrane. And then, you break through it. You break through it, and then you're in this place, and there's an enormous cheer which goes up as you pass through this membrane. Some of you may know the Pink Floyd song about how the gnomes have learned a new way to say hoo-ray? They're waiting. And you burst into this place, and you're saying, you know, 'Geez, you know, this stuff is really speedy.' (laughter) That's like describing a Space Shuttle launching as noisy, you know? (laughter) And you say, 'Am I all right? Am I all right?' That's the first question, and so then you run your mind around the track, and you say, 'Hmm. Heartbeat normal? Yeah, normal, heartbeat normal. Pulse normal? Breathing? Breathe breathe breathe, yes.' But what's right here, right here and from here out is this thing which, no matter how much science fiction you've done, no matter how much William Burroughs you've read, no matter how much time you've spent in the company of the weird, the bizarre, the outré, and the peculiar, you weren't ready. (laughter) And it's completely real. It's in a way more real than the contents of ordinary reality, because, see how the shadows here are muted and there's a lot of transitional zones from one color to another and so forth? This isn't like that. This is crystalline, clear, solid, you can see the light reflected in the depths of these objects, and everything is very brightly colored, and everything is moving very, very rapidly.
And there are entities there. It's not about calling them up or the whisperings of them. No, they're IN YOUR FACE. (laughter) And they're right here, and they're worse than in your face, because what they do is, they jump into your chest and then they jump out. And you have to keep saying, 'Keep breathing, keep breathing, don't freak out, pay attention.' And the entities speak to you, and they speak both in English and another way which we'll get to in a minute. But in English what they say is, 'Do not give way to wonder. Hang on. Don't just go gaga with disbelief. Pay attention. Pay attention.' And what they're trying to do is they're trying to show you something. They are very aware of the fleeting nature of this encounter. And they say, you know, 'Don't spiral off into amazement, and start raving about God and all that. Forget that. Pay attention to what we're doing.'
And then, what they're doing is they're dancing around, they're jumping around, they're emerging explicitly out of the background, bounding toward you, jumping into your chest, bounding away, and they offer, they make offerings. And they love you, that's the other thing. They say this. They say, 'We love you. You come so rarely. And, you know, here you are. Welcome, welcome.' And they make these offerings. And the offerings are objects of some sort. And now remember, you are not changed. You're exactly the person you were a few minutes before. So you're not exalted or depressed. You're just trying to make sense of this. And the objects which they offer are like, Faberge eggs, or exquisitely tooled and enameled pieces of machinery, but they don't have rigid outlines. They objects are themselves somehow alive, and transforming and changing. So when these creatures -- I call them 'tykes' -- when these tykes offer you these objects, you like, you grok it, you look it and immediately, because you are yourself, you have this realization: my God, if I could get this thing back into my world, history would never be the same. A single one of these objects is somehow, you can tell by looking at it, this would confound my world beyond hope of recovery. It cannot exist. What I'm being shown is a tiny area where miracles are transformed.
And the creatures, the tykes, are singing. They are speaking in a kind of translinguistic glossilalia. They are actually making these objects with their voices. They are singing these things into existence. And what the message is, is 'Do what we're doing. You can do what we're doing. DO IT.' And they get quite pushy about this. They say, you know, 'Damn it, DO IT!' And you're saying, 'Bu...bu...bu...bu...' And they say, 'No, DO IT! Do it NOW! DO IT!' And you say, 'I can't handle this,' you know, and then this kind of reaction goes on for awhile. Well, then, I actually...I don't take credit for it, it was not willed, but like something comes up from inside of you. Something comes out of you, and you discover you can do it, that you can use language to condense objects into existence in this space. It's the dream of all magic, but here it is, folks, happening in real time. And then they're just delighted. They just go mad with delight and turn somersaults and turn themselves inside out and they all jump into your chest at once.
And after many encounters of this sort...I mean, when I first did DMT, I couldn't bring anything out of it. I mean, I just said, you know, 'It's the damnedest thing I've ever encountered and I can't say anything about it and I don't think I ever will be able to say anything about it.' But by going back repeatedly and working at it, I think I've gotten a pretty coherent -- well, let's not go that far. (laughter) I think I've got a pretty clear metaphor anyway for what's happening in there, and I think a lot of people have this experience. When you talk to shamans, they say, 'Oh, well, yes, the helping spirits. Those are the helping spirits. They can help you cure, find lost objects, you didn't know about the helping spirits?' And you say, 'Well, I knew, but I, I had no idea that it was so literal.' And they say, 'Oh, no, that's the helping spirits.'
But then, the other thing they say, if you press a shaman, if you say, 'Well, what exactly is a helping spirit?' They say, 'Well, a helping spirit is an ancestor.' You say, 'You mean to tell me that those are dead people in there?' They say, 'Well, yes, ancestor, dead person. You didn't know about ancestors apparently. This is what happens to people who die.' And you say, 'My God, is it possible that what we're breaking into here is an ecology of souls?' That these are not extraterrestrials from Zenebelganooby or Zeta Reticula Beta. These are the dear departed. And they exist in a realm which, for want of a better word, let's call eternity. And somehow this drug, or whatever it is, is allowing me to see across the veil. This is the lifting -- you want to talk about boundary dissolution. It's one thing to get tight to your partner, it's quite another to get tight to the dear departed of centuries past. That's a serious boundary dissolution when that happens.
What these creatures want, according to them, is they want us to transform our language somehow. And I don't know what this means. I mean, at this point in the weekend and in my life, we all are on the cutting edge, and nobody is ahead of anybody else. Clearly we need to transform our language, because our culture is created by our language, and our culture is toxic, murderous, and on a downhill bummer. Somehow we need to transform our language, but is this what they mean? That we're supposed to condense machines out of the air in front of us? How does this relate to the persistent idea, promulgated by Robert Graves and other people, that there is a primal language of poetry? That poetry as we know it is a pale, pale thing, and that at some time in the human past, people were in command of languages which literally compel belief. They *compel* belief, because they don't make an appeal through argument or metaphor. They compel belief because they are able to present themselves as imagery. You know, William Blake said, 'If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it WILL be believed.'
And it's very confusing, because you wonder, have people been doing this for thousands of years? And if so, have they always encountered this tremendous urgency on the other side? If people have been doing it for thousands of years, why is there this urgency on the part of these entities? And who exactly and what exactly are they? It appalls me, you can probably tell, that I have to talk about this, because I am not, this is not my bailiwick. I mean, I'm a rationalist who's just had a very weird set of experiences, but I am a rationalist. I mean, I have no patience with channeling, you know, the lords of the many rays, the divas and, you know, there's this whole thing going around about disincarnate intelligence, mostly under the control of fairly, shall we say, non-rigorous thinkers. (laughter) But I like to think that I am a rigorous thinker, and yet, here I am, telling you that, you know, elf legions await in hyperspace one toke away.
The difference between my rap and, you know, the finned horned folks or somebody like that is that we have an operational method for testing my assertion. We can all smoke DMT, or you can make it your business to now find out about this, and see for yourself. And not everybody agrees with me. I mean, some people say it wasn't anything like that. But some people agree, and I think if you get two out of ten agreeing with a rap like this, then you'd better pay attention. (laughter)